The definition of “stigma,” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary is, “A mark of shame or discredit.” When someone mentions they are going to therapy or regularly attending sessions with a therapist, society typically places this “mark of shame” upon this individual. Society and the media often tell us that physical health is much more important than mental health. The flashy, edited images of celebrities working out or sponsoring a weight loss program show us that we should care more about our appearance rather than our minds. The exterior overtakes the interior.
Well, I personally think it is about time to start recognizing our mental health needs as individuals. I am proud to say that I have attended therapy off and on since I was little, and I regularly go to therapy in college right now. The benefits of it are so bountiful for me individually, and my therapist and I are a team. We work together to come to new discoveries about what I am going through and why I react to events in certain ways. A lot of therapy works to tend to the roots inside of you and how you grew into the person you are right now in the moment– how different events and people in your past affected you personally and how you managed. Therapy is different for everyone, as it should be, because everyone is different in how they experience things. That’s why there are endless types of therapy.
Therapy can be useful for many different circumstances. Maybe you feel you want to seek therapy to help heal from trauma or learn coping strategies for a mental illness you were diagnosed with. Sometimes people just need to see a therapist because a recent and unexpected event happened they need support to get through. This could be someone close to you passing away or witnessing or being a victim of a form of abuse, for example. Each therapist will have a different approach to their clients, depending on what kind of therapy they adopt.
Types include: psychodynamic therapy, behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, humanistic therapy, group therapy, and more. If you want to explore these types and which one is best for you, click here for more information. I have also done more creative therapies in the past, such as art therapy which can be very relaxing. You can do this on your own if you have the supplies and proper atmosphere. It allows you to be creative and paint, sketch, draw, sculpt, or make any kind of artform while putting on calming music. Music therapy is another option. Explore what is out there in regards to therapy options and find what resonates with you most. Even physical activities, such as yoga or meditation, can destress the body and help you align your breathing if you have anxiety.
If you currently attend therapy, do not be ashamed of it. You are taking steps to prioritize your own mental health and doing what is best for you. Do not make someone let you feel inferior or ashamed of it because you know what your needs are in life to live happily and discover more about yourself. You are not alone in your practice of going, trust me.
If you are thinking of starting therapy, make some phone calls and meet a few therapists to find one that clicks with you. You want to feel comfortable around your therapist because you are going to open up to them about your struggles and how they can help you. Think about if the gender of your therapist matters and if you want one who specializes in an area that pertains to you. Don’t be afraid to take that step and try it out. You can always stop if you feel like it is not for you.
Therapy is not for everyone, and I totally understand that. I know it has worked for me. What works for me will not work for everyone, as I have said. Sometimes a combination of medication and therapy works, and sometimes just medication. You will discover what you like best.
I think it’s time to start more conversations about therapy and how beneficial it is. It can destress you, help you manage and figure out your emotions, and let you have a support system in your life. My therapists have been some of the most supportive people in my life. They are the best! They are there for you and care about you!
**If you are a Millersville University student, you get five free therapy sessions per semester at the Counseling Center in Lyle Hall. They have walk-in times Monday through Friday from 1:00-2:00 PM if you need to speak briefly to a counselor. If you prefer, you can call the center and make an appointment to see a counselor for a session that is a little less than one hour in length. Please utilize these resources if they will benefit you because they are there for Millersville students. The university wants to support students in any way they can.
They also offer lightbox therapy, emotional support animals, and peer group therapy sessions certain days of the week.
3rd Floor Lyle hall
Hours of Operation
Mon., Tues., Thur., Fri. from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wed. from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Any changes to regularly scheduled hours will be posted in the Counseling Center.
National Suicide Hotline Number: 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Hotline Number (*SPANISH SPEAKING*): 1-800-628-9454
National Suicide Hotline TEXT Number: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Hotline TEXT: text HOME 741741